Retail round up - The Sunday Papers
George Davis to open in the Gulf, Karren Brady to join Arcadia, Ocado appoints investment banks, New bidder for German Karstadt stores emerges, Kwik-Fit put up for sale, Whitbread to raise Â£100m in new shares
George Davies, the retail entrepreneur who founded Next and George at Asda and designed the Per Una fashion collection for Marks & Spencer, is to open a 60-branch childrenswear chain in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The launch will be through a joint venture with Fawaz Alhokair Group, a leading Saudi Arabian property and retail business.In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph Mr Davies, 69, also reveals that he came close to retiring from the retail world earlier this year – the only time he has considered quitting in more than 50 years in the retail sector. The Middle East move will represent the first time he has launched an entirely new retail chain overseas. "I've been asked many times to do another George abroad," he says. "It's not that I didn't want to but the creative side of me wanted to do something a little bit different. "Fawaz Alhokair is one of the best groups in the Middle East. They've got 11 shopping malls in Saudi Arabia plus interests in Egypt. I've known them for years."We're going to do men's, women's and kids' clothing. The first one is for 60 standalone childrenswear shops but there will be other bigger ones interests other markets"
The Sunday Times
Karren Brady is to join the board of Arcadia. She is the first female board director recruited by Green, who dresses tens of millions of women in Britain and abroad with brands such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis. Brady, who rose to prominence as managing director of Birmingham City football club, will become a non-executive director in September.
Ocado will take a step closer to a £1billion stock market float with the appointment this week of five additional investment banks to advise on the deal. The timing of the new appointments will will be seen as a clear sign that Ocado is to press ahead with a public offering in July. The banks will earn an estimated £15m in advisory fees.
Financial Times Sat / Sun
A fourth potential bidder has emerged in the contest to acquire insolvent German department store chain Karstadt, a spokesman for the chain’s insolvency administrator said on Saturday. “We’ve received a letter and have forwarded it on to the investment bank to check,” a spokesman for administrator Klaus Hubert Goerge said.
Kwik-Fit, the car repairs and tyres specialist, is understood to have been put up for auction by PAI Partners, the French private equity group that acquired it for £800m in 2005. Rival private equity groups including Blackstone, KKR and Permira are considering making offers for Kwik-Fit, which has 600 centres in Britain and about 500 on the continent. Another possible bidder is the Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, which owns a network of European garages called Truck Point. The predators are thought to be impressed by trading at Kwik-Fit, which has benefited from the recession as fewer people invest in new cars, preferring to repair the vehicles they already own.
The Independent on Sunday
Whitbread, the Premier Inn owner, plans to raise £100m this summer through a private placement, where shares are sold in bulk to big institutions rather than the public. The former brewer turned FTSE-100 leisure group wants to assess the market's appetite for placements so that it can diversify its financing sources, which currently rely entirely on bank debt. It is likely to use its regular advisers, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds. Alan Parker, Whitbread's chief executive, said that he hoped to have completed the fundraising by September. "A private placement would give us choices, options. We're looking to test the market with that kind of instrument to raise debt."
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